The mining industry has been feeling the pressure of skills shortages for some time, and with approximately 92,000 workers needed over the next decade, the need for profound, collective and multi-faceted effort has never been more apparent. There are six primary groups that have been identified as employment recruiting targets: youth, women, Aboriginals, new Canadians, mature workers and ex-pats of the Canadian mining industry.
Marketing tactics for the mining industry’s recruiting campaign need to be ramped up in order to attract these alternative pools of labour. Messaging and imagery must resonate with each of these groups if the industry wants to effectively manage the skills gap.
Understanding the perceptions held by under-represented groups is essential to creating effective communications and branding strategies. The Mining Industry Human Resources Council conducted market research in 2005-2006 to better understand these groups in terms of their awareness levels and opinions of the sector. Youth, women, aboriginal peoples and new Canadians were all surveyed as part of the research. Generally, the study revealed a significant lack of awareness among target groups.
The mining perception study was conducted by Ipsos-Reid and APCO Worldwide. In order to complete the questionnaire, the 474 qualified respondents had to be between the ages of 16 and 35. Additionally, quotas were put in place to ensure a 50/50 gender split and a 60/40 rural/urban split.
Some of the words used by the study participants to describe their perceptions of the mining sector included: dirty, dark, environmentally unsound, using old technology, physically demanding, not family-friendly and having a ‘poor future.’
Through a collaborative effort led by MiHR, the mining industry has taken action to combat these negative perceptions with the introduction of a vibrant brand called Explore for More. The brand has been created based on a comprehensive understanding of youth trends, perceptions, and motivators. Explore for More uses clean lines and engaging colours to showcase the bright future of the mining sector. The primary tagline of the brand A Career in Mining is More than You Think is intended to intrigue the career seeker and invite further investigation. The secondary messages of Challenge. Adventure. Travel. Good Pay. Great Opportunity. reinforce the exciting nature of career options in the sector. Through the support and input of industry partners, career profile kit folders, pop-up display banners and engaging career attraction presentations have been created under the brand.
Over the next seven months, MiHR and its partners will take Explore for More to the next level by means of the Mining Industry Attraction, Recruitment, and Retention Strategy (MARS). A photo gallery will be developed to boost the impact of brand messaging with lively and influential imagery. MiHR will also be testing the brand among three of the other target groups: women, aboriginal people and new Canadians, so that it can be customized and tailored to each audience. Coupled with other attraction, recruitment and retention tools, this communications campaign is intended to increase the pool of labour available to the minerals and metals industry.
Explore for More is the attraction and recruitment brand of the industry. Educational institutions, mining employers, suppliers, organized labour and other communities of interest are encouraged to use and apply the Explore for More brand for consistent and powerful career attraction results.
Interested stakeholders will be invited to attend the launch of the second generation of the powerful and lively industry brand in June/July of 2008.
Mel Sturk is project manager, recruitment and retention, Mining Industry Human Resources Council.